Sunday, February 1, 2009

Please, NBC, put me in charge of the Super Bowl pregame show

So, I finished taking Katie the Beagle for a lovely walk on our snowy, frozen lake ...

Since there are still two feet of snow out there, why was it lovely? Because it's forty-one degrees outside. Woo-hoo, we cleared the freezing mark for the first time in weeks! Okay, this also meant that it was a slightly soggy walk when we got towards the middle of the lake where some of the snowmelt was puddling,. But for the most part we stayed towards the edges and had a good time slogging through the snow, which is still deeper than Katie is tall in some places.

... anyway, that's not the point. The point is that when we got back inside, I decided to start cleaning up the kitchen in anticipation of eventually whipping up some lovely Super Bowl snacksies. While I was washing dishes I decided to turn on the Super Bowl pregame show on NBC.

With a five-hour pregame show to fill, what were they showing on the pregame you ask? Perhaps a breakdown of the Pittsburgh defense's use of pre-snap movement to disguise the zone blitz? Perhaps a narrative of fifty years of frustration for Cardinal fans? Maybe they go for a little cheesecake and feature a wing-eating contest between the Cardinal and Steeler cheerleaders?

Nope. Al Roker was interviewing Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson about The Rock's upcoming movie, Race to Witch Mountain.

NBC, let me help you out here. If you can't figure out how to fill five hours with stuff that is at least peripherally related to football, you have your halftime act in town, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band. Just set up the halftime stage early, and let Bruce and the band play for three or four hours until the teams are ready to warm up. That way you only have to scrape together an hour or so of actual football content.

They also seem to have Matt Millen on as one of their pregame analysts. Huh!? What the H-E-Double-Toothpicks is his job on that panel? To tell America how he utterly wrecked the one-time mediocrity that was the Detroit Lions? To explain how to build the worst team in all NFL history? Do they use him for compare and contrast with the competence shown by the Steeler and Cardinal front offices? Or is it a demonstration of the one man who may have a lower job rating than George W. Bush for what he did over the last eight years? Nope, they seem to be deferring to him as if he actually knows something about the NFL.

I guess I shouldn't criticize NBC for hiring Millen for the pregame analyst gig. I'd hire him for my pregame show. And then I'd put him in the stocks and let Lions season ticket holders throw eggs and rotten vegetables at him during breaks between other activities.

So, to sum up, here's my pregame show schedule:

1 pm - 1:15 pm -- Lions fans throw garbage at Matt Millen
1:15 pm - 2:45 pm -- Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, 1st Set
2:45 pm - 3 pm -- Lions fans throw garbage at Matt Millen
3 pm - 4:30 pm -- Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, 2nd Set
4:30 pm - 4:35 pm -- Lions fans throw garbage at Matt Millen
4:35 pm - 4:45 pm -- Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, Encore
5:20 pm - 5:28 pm -- Lions fans throw garbage at Matt Millen
5:28 pm - 6:10 pm -- Actual football stuff
6:10 pm - 6:15 pm -- Final opportunity for Lions fans to throw garbage at Matt Millen.
6:15 pm - 6:23 pm -- Introduction of teams
6:24 pm - 6:27 pm -- National Anthem
6:28 pm -- Kickoff

I guarantee my show would draw better ratings than NBC's will today.

[Edit]P.S. Now they have some Journey tribute band singing "Don't Stop Believing." (Or maybe it's the remaining musicians from Journey with a Filipino guy singing lead instead of Steve Perry. Whatever.) Either way, it's a step towards my vision of replacing the pregame non-football non-entertainment with pregame non-football entertainment.

Thanks, NBC! Now, if we can only getting them working on that Matt-Millen-in-the-stocks plan.


  1. I liked the way I spent my day yesterday and now have yet another reason to be glad that I was out and about, helping my Mom celebrate her birthday and thus missing the pregame coverage as well as the beginning of the Superbowl itslef. I didn't get home and settle in to eat the delightful chicken wings John prepared until well into the second quarter. Lucky me!

  2. I should've posted that they *did* feature a long segment in which Lions fans pelted Matt Millen with garbage. Then you would've been sorry that you missed it.

    Truth be told, Katie the Beagle and I mostly spent the pregame listening to folk music whilst I futzed about trying to set up my new laptop. Most of my pregame-show watching came in the kitchen while I was washing dishes. It was enough to make me decide not to turn on the DVR recording of the pregame I was making out in the living room.

    By the way, I saw that The Rock's new movie had a commercial during the game itself. Any chance there was an ad purchase deal that went like this: "Okay, we'll shell out $3 million for an ad during the game, but you've gotta interview our guy for at least five minutes during the pregame?"

  3. If there was someone getting pelted with garbage, I too might have watched. I'm not making any promises, but the chances would have been better.

  4. John,

    Me thinks you are a litle harsh on Mr. Millen, the organization as a whole must decide to invest in strong players if it expects to put a competetive team on the field. Cash means wins.

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  6. Au contraire, Jim, I had a front-row seat for the last eight years of Lion misery. They spent plenty, just not wisely.

    I could go on and on and on (and on and on and on and on) about why I think Millen was such a miserable failure as the Lions president and GM. But instead of going into why he was so terrible let me be benificent and heed your call for mercy.

    During the pregame show in which we would pelt Matt Millen with garbage while he was locked in the stocks, I would agree to call a one-minute halt to the pelting ... but just so that somebody -- preferably somebody with a strong leg -- could walk behind and kick him in the ass a few times.

    What I'm currently finding despicable and reprehensible are the public insinuations that he is now making that the Lions troubles the last eight years weren't his fault. He was 100% responsible. Don't let him sell that bill of goods to you.

    Oh man, look at me. I'm all sorts of worked up now! Matt Millen!! Grrrrr!!!

    [And sheesh, now I'm so worked up that I accidentally deleted my own comment, which was just this same comment but with "reprehensible" misspelled.]